The best offense is a good defense

There are a lot of components to being a special needs mom. It’s a balancing act of treating your kid like “everybody else” and managing all the nuances, therapies and appointments that make them “special”. You don’t want to treat them differently and yet their situation calls for different. You don’t want to talk endlessly about one child but you feel like you have to enlighten everyone about your child’s specifics.
As you all remember, I did not want to be “that mom”. I didn’t want to be an advocate for Down syndrome or start every conversation with, “My son has special needs . . .” But I’ve become her. I wear my sandwich board & ring my bell proudly, probably annoyingly. I have become David’s biggest cheerleader and a fiercer mama-bear than I expected. I have turned into a highly educated advocate (Well, highly educated for 16 month olds or younger. I know nothing about school, inclusion, IEP’s, etc. But that’ll come)
With the rise of genetic research and developments has inevitably come genetic testing. Just this week news broke of a couple who utilized fertility treatments in order to select their babies gender. Families are finding out very early in the first trimester if their children have genetic abnormalities and are given the option to terminate practically simultaneously with the results. The age of designer babies is here so where does that leave David & his peers?
I’ll tell you where it doesn’t leave me. In the judgement zone. People assume because we had a prenatal diagnosis and continued on with our pregnancy that I have strong feelings against termination. But I don’t. I have strong feelings toward education. I think the information that is out there is dated and scary. I think parents are terrified of the unknown. I think technology moves faster than human emotion. And more importantly, I think it’s not my place to judge. David is a lot. Strike that, David’s schedule is a lot. His needs are more extensive and the impact of his life has had an emotional affect on me. But truthfully, he is my easy child. He rarely cries, he calms easily and he’s perpetually joyful. When I hear parents say they couldn’t handle the difficulty of a special needs child, I don’t judge, I just know they haven’t been educated. Saying that is like saying it’s too difficult to schedule pediatrician check ups, pick proper food or buy diapers. All children have needs. A special needs child’s are just different. Not more, not less, just different.
So I’m not defensive about my decision or anyone else’s for that matter. I just really stepped up my offense and decided to rock parenting. Not special needs parenting, just parenting. Turns out food, clothing, shelter and love work for “special” kiddos too.